International Distribution Services (IDS), the parent company of Royal Mail, has said it is working to improve quality after profits plunged amid a torrid year of strikes and customer let-downs.
On Thursday, IDS told markets that group operating losses slid to £169m, down 196.5 per cent, in the first half of the year. Shares dipped 2.4 per cent in the morning.
This was mainly due to Royal Mail making losses of £319m, compared to £219m in the first half of 2022. Revenue dipped nearly three per cent to £3.5bn.
Parcel delivery service General Logistics Systems (GLS), the other unit owned by IDS, made a profit of £150m, some £12m lower than last year. Revenue surged six per cent this half to £2.3bn.
IDS chief executive Martin Seidenberg said his number one goal is to improve the quality of the group’s services.
“From experience,” he said, “I know that quality is key for customer satisfaction and sustainable growth, so we are pulling out all the stops to deliver Christmas for our customers.”
The group has hired 16,000 festive workers and opened five temporary sorting centres. An incentive scheme promises operational employees up to £500 each for hitting local and national quality targets.
“A number of changes we secured in the agreement with the Communication Workers Union (CWU), such as new sickness and attendance policies, will also help to underpin quality,” Seidenberg said.
Earlier this week, Ofcom slapped Royal Mail with a fine of £5.6m after it failed to meet crucial delivery targets this financial year. The courier’s performance report for 2022/23 revealed that it fell far short of benchmarks.